Google Ads policies
Last updated on April 12, 2017
Welcome to the AdWords Policy Center. Here you’ll find the requirements for advertising on the Google Network.
Our policies cover four broad areas:
Google AdWords prohibits the sale or promotion for sale of counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods contain a trademark or logo that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from the trademark of another. They mimic the brand features of the product in an attempt to pass themselves off as a genuine product of the brand owner.
We want to help keep people safe both online and offline, so we don’t allow the promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury.Examples of dangerous content: Recreational drugs (chemical or herbal); psychoactive substances; equipment to facilitate drug use; weapons, ammunition, explosive materials and fireworks; instructions for making explosives or other harmful products; tobacco products
We value honesty and fairness, so we don’t allow the promotion of products or services that are designed to enable dishonest behavior.Examples of products or services that enable dishonest behavior: Hacking software or instructions; services designed to artificially inflate ad or website traffic; fake documents; academic cheating services
We value diversity and respect for others, and we strive to avoid offending users with ads, websites, or apps that are inappropriate for our ad network.For this reason, we don’t allow the promotion of any of the following:
- hatred; violence; harassment; racism; sexual, religious, or political intolerance, or organizations with such views
- content that’s likely to shock or disgust
- content that’s exploitative or appears to unfairly capitalize at the expense of others
Examples of inappropriate or offensive content: bullying or intimidation of an individual or group, racial discrimination, hate group paraphernalia, graphic crime scene or accident images, cruelty to animals, murder, self-harm, extortion or blackmail, sale or trade of endangered species, ads using profane language
We want ads to be useful, varied, relevant, and safe for users when serving them across the Google Network. As a result, we don’t allow any of the following:
- malicious ads, sites, or apps
- businesses that attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the ad auction
- businesses that attempt to bypass our review processes
All of our policies are crafted to protect a high-quality user experience, and we’ve built enforcement systems and processes to prevent ads that fall below these standards from serving. We take any attempts to trick or circumvent our ad review processes very seriously, so play fair.
Examples of abuse of the ad network: promoting content that contains malware; “cloaking” or using other techniques to hide the true destination that users are directed to; “arbitrage” or promoting destinations for the sole or primary purpose of showing ads; promoting “bridge” or “gateway” destinations that are solely designed to send users elsewhere; advertising with the sole or primary intent of gaining public social network endorsements from the user; “gaming” or manipulating settings in an attempt to circumvent our policy review systems
We want users to trust that information about them will be respected and handled with appropriate care. As such, our advertising partners should not misuse this information, nor collect it for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures.Examples of user information that should be handled with care: full name; email address; mailing address; phone number; national identity, pension, social security, tax ID, health care, or driver’s license number; birth date or mother’s maiden name in addition to any of the above information; financial status; political affiliation; sexual orientation; race or ethnicity; religion
Examples of irresponsible data collection & use: obtaining credit card information over a non-secure server, promotions that claim to know a user’s sexual orientation or financial status, violations of our policies that apply to interest-based advertising and remarketing
We don’t want users to feel misled by ads that we deliver, and that means being upfront, honest, and providing them with the information that they need to make informed decisions. For this reason, we don’t allow the following:
- promotions that prompt users to initiate a purchase, download, or other commitment without first providing all relevant information and obtaining the user’s explicit consent
- promotions that represent you, your products, or your services in a way that is not accurate, realistic, and truthful
Examples of misrepresentation: omitting or obscuring billing details such as how, what, and when users will be charged; omitting or obscuring charges associated with financial services such as interest rates, fees, and penalties; failing to display tax or licence numbers, contact information, or physical address where relevant; making offers that aren’t actually available; making misleading or unrealistic claims regarding weight loss or financial gain; collecting donations under false pretenses; “phishing” or falsely purporting to be a reputable company in order to get users to part with valuable personal or financial information
The policies below cover content that is sometimes legally or culturally sensitive. Online advertising can be a powerful way to reach customers, but in sensitive areas, we also work hard to avoid showing these ads when and where they might be inappropriate.
For that reason, we allow the promotion of the content below, but on a limited basis. These promotions may not show to every user in every location, and advertisers may need to meet additional requirements before their ads are eligible to run. Note that not all ad products, features, or networks are able to support this restricted content. Further details can be found in the Policy Center.
Google restricts the promotion of the following types of adult-oriented content:
- offline adult entertainment
- adult merchandise
- dating services
- international bride services
- sexually suggestive content
- images containing exposed skin and nudity
When promoting adult-oriented content, you may not do any of the following:
- violate applicable laws or regulations for any location that your campaign targets
- target minors
- promote sexually explicit content
- promote content with underage or non-consensual sexual themes
- promote escort services or other services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation
Examples of restricted adult content: strip clubs, erotic cinemas, sex toys, adult magazines, sexual enhancement products, matchmaking sites, models in sexualized poses
Google restricts the promotion of alcoholic beverages and drinks that resemble alcoholic beverages. You must abide by the local laws and industry standards of any location your campaign targets and be responsible in how you promote alcohol. For example, don’t advocate excessive or competitive drinking, target underage people, promise physical or social benefits of alcohol consumption, or condone drinking and driving.Examples of restricted alcoholic beverages: beer, wine, sake, spirits or hard alcohol, Champagne, fortified wine, non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic wine, and non-alcoholic distilled spirits
Google restricts the promotion of copyrighted content. If you would like to promote copyrighted content and believe that you’re legally authorized to do so, you can send us your copyright documentation to be certified to advertise.Visit our page on removing content from Google to learn how we handle copyright-related issues or to submit a copyright-related complaint.
Google restricts the promotion of the following gambling-related content:
- offline and online gambling
- online gambling-related information
- online games played for money or prizes
- online casino-based games, regardless of whether money is exchanged
When promoting gambling-related content, you need to do the following:
- Comply with applicable laws and industry standards for any location that your campaign targets.
- Meet local licensing requirements for all gambling-related products and services that you’re promoting.
- Clearly display information on your landing page about responsible gambling.
- Ensure that you don’t target minors.
Additionally, you must receive pre-authorization from Google before promoting any online gambling-related content. If the country you’d like to target is not listed in the country restrictions section, AdWords can’t promote restricted gambling content there.
Examples of restricted gambling-related content: physical casinos; sites where users can bet on poker, bingo, roulette, or sports events; national or private lotteries; sports odds aggregator sites; sites offering bonus codes or promotional offers for gambling sites; online educational materials for casino-based games; sites offering “poker-for-fun” games; non-casino-based cash game sites
Google restricts the promotion of healthcare-related content such as the following:
- over-the-counter medication
- prescription medication and information about prescription medication
- online and offline pharmacies
- pregnancy and fertility-related products and services
- medical services and procedures
- clinical trial recruitment
- sexual enhancement treatments
The restrictions that apply to this content may vary depending on the product or service that you’re promoting and the countries that you’re targeting. Some content, such as unapproved substances, can’t be promoted anywhere.
Depending on the content that you’re promoting and the countries where your ads appear, you may need to apply for pre-authorization with Google before advertising healthcare-related content.
When promoting political content, you need to comply with the following:
- applicable laws and industry standards for any location that your campaign targets
- any applicable election “silence periods”
- Google’s country-specific requirements
Examples of political content: promotion of political parties or candidates, political issue advocacy
We want users to have adequate information to make informed financial decisions. Our policies are designed to give users information to weigh the costs associated with financial products and to protect users from harmful or deceitful practices. For the purposes of this policy, we consider financial products and services to be those related to the management and investment of money, including personalized advice.
When promoting financial services and products, you must comply with state and local regulations for any region that your ads target — for example, include specific disclosures required by local law. Refer to our non-exhaustive list of country-specific requirements for more information.
There are multiple factors that determine when trademarks can be used in AdWords ads. Along with the factors described in our Policy Center, these policies apply only when a trademark owner has submitted a valid complaint to Google.
You’re always responsible for ensuring that you comply with all applicable laws and regulations, in addition to Google’s advertising policies, for all of the locations where your ads are showing.
When people click on your ads, we want to be sure that they won’t be exploited or deceived. We don’t allow advertisers to promote untrustworthy business practices.
Editorial & technical requirements
We want to deliver ads that are engaging for users without being annoying or difficult to interact with, so we’ve developed editorial requirements to help keep your ads appealing to users. We’ve also specified technical requirements to help users and advertisers get the most out of the variety of ad formats we offer.
In order to provide a quality user experience, Google requires that all ads, extensions, and destinations meet high professional and editorial standards. We only allow ads that are clear, professional in appearance, and that lead users to content that is relevant, useful, and easy to interact with.Examples of promotions that don’t meet these editorial and professional requirements:
- overly generic ads that contain vague phrases such as “Buy products here”
- gimmicky use of words, numbers, letters, punctuation, or symbols such as FREE, f-r-e-e, and F₹€€!!
We want consumers to have a good experience when they click on an ad, so ad destinations must offer unique value to users and be functional, useful, and easy to navigate.Examples of promotions that don’t meet destination requirements:
- a display URL that does not accurately reflect the URL of the landing page, such as “google.com” taking users to “gmail.com”
- sites or apps that are under construction, parked domains, or are just not working
- sites that are not viewable in commonly used browsers
- sites that have disabled the browser’s back button
To help us keep ads clear and functional, advertisers must meet our technical requirements.
In order to help you provide a quality user experience and deliver attractive, professional looking ads, we only allow promotions that comply with specific requirements for each ad. Review the format-specific requirements for all ad formats that you’re using.
Note: We don’t allow Non-family safe ads in image ads, video ads, and other non-text ad formats. Read more about our Adult content policy.
Examples of ad format requirements: character limits for the ad headline or body, image size requirements, file size limits, video length limits, aspect ratios